DirecTV Just Dropped Newsmax for Subscribers, Effective Today
The provider is joining others that have already cut ties.
We all have our go-to channels that we scroll to when sitting down to watch TV. But over the last year, consumers have seen providers go head-to-head with broadcasters in contract disputes, often getting rid of channels entirely. Now, DirecTV subscribers who enjoy Newsmax will notice that the conservative channel is suddenly missing from their lineup. Read on to find out why DirecTV has cut ties with the network.
Newsmax has earned substantial controversy.
Newsmax is a television channel owned by Newsmax Media, Inc., a media company founded by Christopher Ruddy in 1998. While the company advertises the channel as an "independent news network with a conservative perspective," it has faced criticism for views that many consider to be extreme. In particular, Newsmax has been embroiled with controversy over false claims about the 2020 election.
Smartmatic Corp., an election security firm, sued the network in 2021 for "amplifying false claims that Smartmatic voting machines rigged the election against then-President Donald Trump, who persists in falsely claiming his defeat was the result of fraud," per Reuters. Dominion, another voting machine company, did the same, and in June 2022, a judge denied Newsmax's motion to dismiss the suit, according to ABC News.
But the network has continued to defend its coverage. "Newsmax reported on both sides in the election dispute without making any claim about the results other than saying they were 'legal and final,'" a spokesperson for the company said in a statement to ABC. "We are confident that Newsmax will ultimately prevail given the strong First Amendment protections provided to ensure free speech and a free press."
Several TV providers have dropped the channel.
Amid the controversy, several cable companies have cut ties with Newsmax TV.
In Jan. 2022, Forbes reported that the network had recently been dropped by a number of providers: Atlantic Broadband, Blue Ridge Communications Cincinnati Bell, and Hargray Communications. As a result of these cancellations, Newsmax lost just around 150,000 subscribers out of roughly 54 million.
As Forbes noted at the time, Newsmax losing other major cable companies or TV providers could be "problematic." And now, that seems to be happening.
DirecTV has now dropped Newsmax.
DirecTV dropped Newsmax from its lineup after a contract between the two expired at 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 24, Bloomberg reported. Effective today, subscribers no longer have access to the conservative channel. According to The Hollywood Reporter, DirecTV said its decision to drop Newsmax was not based on the network's controversies, but rather its "demands for rate increases."
"On multiple occasions, we made it clear to Newsmax that we wanted to continue to offer the network, but ultimately Newsmax's demands for rate increases would have led to significantly higher costs that we would have to pass on to our broad customer base," a DirecTV spokesperson told the magazine in a statement.
The spokesperson added, "Anyone, including our customers, can watch the network for free via NewsmaxTV.com, YouTube.com and on multiple streaming platforms like Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Google Play. We continually evaluate the most relevant programming to provide our customers and expect to fill this available channel with new content."
Some are calling the move censorship.
Despite making it clear this is not a moral or political move, DirecTV is facing backlash for its decision—especially from the network itself.
"This is a blatant act of political discrimination and censorship against Newsmax. The most extreme liberal channels, even with tiny ratings, get fees from AT&T's DirecTV, but Newsmax and OAN need to be de-platformed," Ruddy said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. (OAN, also known as One America News Network, is another conservative channel that was dropped by DirecTV in April 2022).
Several Republican lawmakers wrote a Jan. 20 letter to the CEO of DirecTV, along with the CEOs of AT&T and private equity firm TPG Capital, to express concern about the potential removal of Newsmax given the provider's decision to remove OAN last year.
"It is our understanding that DirecTV—still majority-owned by AT&T and minority-owned and managed by TPG Capital—is moving to de-platform Newsmax by denying it cable fees on a fair and equitable basis," the letter reads.
The lawmakers also claim that DirecTV still has 11 "liberal news and informations channels" on its lineup, including Vice Media, which "appears to receive higher fees" than what Newsmax is requesting. "Taken together, these two actions lead us to believe that DirecTV, one of the nation's largest multichannel video programming distributors, is actively working to limit conservative viewpoints on its system," the letter concludes.